I am proud of how i show up for life on the manic depressive spectrum–i am proud of my creativity and empathy, and of my spiritual insights and practice…i resist the dogma that calls all of this a disorder, because when balanced, my neurodivergent mind is opened to inspiration that is both ecstatic and grounded…

at the extremes of florid mania or psychotic depression, my condition is pathological–but i am not defined by my most difficult moments and refuse to be labeled by terminology that does not fit my lived experience…when it comes to mental health, stigma is a mind killer–and it stops millions from seeking support, recovery, and resilience… in this moment, COVID is ravaging our nation just as the peril of our body politic accelerates with the prospect of our would-be-fuhrer stealing a second and maybe infinite term for fascism…

in this moment, depression, anxiety, and intense grief are natural–we need to be starting conversations with one another, creating space for collective healing…my own healing has moved forward qualitatively through my recognizing that I struggle with addiction–which is, at least for me, definitely a toxic and potentially deadly disease…for years, i played with fire–cocaine, meth, alcohol, pot, or acid…all in search of a sustained celestial high that i have only found in recovery–i still have plenty of challenges to confront, but having a baseline of a sacred and sober high has transformed my reality…

on both of these fronts, mental health and addiction, stigma is a toxic mind killer…this social demon creates shame and silence where we are most in need of compassion, information, and radical honesty…i am guided by the belief that that those of us who struggle with life’s most vicious demons can become samurai geisha in the evolution of a new world…stigma is our collective enemy–may we rise up for compassion, understanding, empathy, and collective liberation

lead image is by Slava Mogutin >> on IG @slavamogutin

second image is by Favianna Rodriguez: @favianna or



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